Review by: Clive Owen
Publisher: VIZ Media
MSRP: $24.92 US
Running Time: 100 minutes
Rating: T+ (Older Teen)
Release Date: Available Now
The fall of Gaara of the Sand Village.
So far the Naruto Shippuden series has been off to a slow yet undeniably intriguing start that sets this second half of the Naruto apart from its beginnings. This isn’t the story of kids training to become shinobi worthy of their village but rather this is now the story of youths who have proven themselves capable of standing up for their village as we can see from the four episodes that make up Volume 2 of Naruto Shippuden.
In a repeat of the trail Kakashi-sensei placed Naruto and his two teammates a long time ago, Sakura and Naruto find themselves one man short but their training has given them the edge. It’s clear from Sakura’s extraordinary strength that she learned more than just healing from Lady Tsunade and while Naruto is still overeager, he has learned how to strategize. It is this combo that allows them to not only come up with a plan to take Kakashi-sensei’s bells but also execute said plan successfully.
As Lady Tsunade tells them, their success has placed both Naruto and Sakura in a position that now places them as Kakashi-sensei’s equal. The days of their mentor playing the role of lead is over and now the three become a fully functional squad now known as Team Kakashi. This is but one of the two highlights that make up Volume 2.
The other highlight, of course, is the attack the Akatsuki member named Deidara has initiated against Gaara. As the Kazekage of the Sand Village, Gaara has sworn to protect the people of his village. He had put aside the hatred he felt for the village the shunned him and decided to follow in the path that Naruto follows. It’s actually quite endearing to hear Naruto’s former rival express himself this way and it is clear from the battle that Gaara has changed for the better and will put his life on the line for the village that now loves and respects him.
Unfortunately, Deidara is not a foe that should be underestimated. While Gaara pushes his abilities and Chakra to its limits, Deidara is a tricky adversary with the unusual ability to produce powerful C4 explosive clay from his hand. Yes, Gaara has the power of his Jinchuriki as well as his ability to manipulate sand but when Deidara puts the village in danger the young Kazekage focuses his power on saving the Sand Village rather than protecting himself. The result, of course, isn’t good for Gaara.
Before things went sour for Gaara, a Sand ninja sent word that the village is under attack and the distress message was sent to Konoha. Coincidentally, Team Kakashi arrives in time to learn that the Kakekage of the Sand is in trouble so they are the ones that will be sent out to aid the Sand. Lord Jiraiya is the only one who sees sending Naruto on a mission involving the Akatsuki isn’t such a good idea. Meanwhile, Kankuro confronts the escaping Akatsuki only to be pitted against the second Akatsuki member named Sasori who recognizes Kankuro’s puppets.
While the first four episodes of the series set up the events that lead to Gaara’s big battle, the second Volume still has something of a pacing issue as Volume 1. Still, that’s not to say that there isn’t more to love in this volume such as the scene where Sakura actually accepts a date with Naruto. There’s even an endearing change in Kankuro who has become more protective of Gaara as well as an interesting exchange between Shikamaru and Tamari.
A far more exciting four episodes than the first volume, Volume 2 of Naruto Shippuden is the beginning of what will be an exciting rescue mission. The enemy has finally revealed their intentions as they attack Gaara and, with Naruto and the rest of Team Kakashi on the move, things can only get more interesting. Now this is more like it.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
After having bested their mentor at the same trail they failed many years ago, Naruto and Sakura find themselves on equal ground with Kakashi-sensei. Meanwhile, Gaara fights against an Akatsuki agent named Deidara in an impressive battle of survival. Unfortunately, the aftermath of the battle will have allies called into action.
VIDEO QUALITY: A
The Naruto series has always been great at displaying exciting battles and this volume isn’t any different. There’s a reason we still think Gaara is ultra cool and he proves it again in these episodes.
AUDIO QUALITY: A
Once again, it’s great to hear the same cast again for both the English dub and Japanese voices and the soundtrack is still great.
There are no real extras in this volume either so all you’ll find are the same trailers.
Gaara’s battle against Deidara is just one of a few standout moments in this second volume of the Naruto Shippuden series and things could only get more interesting from here. As Team Kakashi heads out to save Gaara from an enemy that has proven to be more powerful, we can come to expect some very interesting times ahead.